Why Cuenca?

Many folks have asked us why we chose Ecuador and more specifically, Cuenca. Here are our top reasons for retiring here:
  1. Cost of living - Quality of Life
    The cost of living might be comparable to a few more rural spots in southern US but we have the advantage of being in a location with a wealth of history, free symphony concerts, free or almost free museums, and a wide variety of new experiences.

    We can enjoy a good standard of living here that will allow us to save significantly, allowing us to return to the US in 5-6 years with enough saved to be mortgage free when we build our log cabin (or close to mortgage free). Ecuador currently uses the US dollar so there are no conversion issues, another bonus. Food is very inexpensive, especially at the local markets or mercados. We buy all our fresh fruit and vegetables at a local mercado.

    So, while we enjoy the above we also get to experience a whole new culture in a new country on a new continent. Our grand adventure!
     
  2. Medical Care
    The medical facilities in Cuenca are very good and compared to the US, very inexpensive. We have yet to research insurance but will soon. For comparison, the son of a friend recently had emergency appendectomy surgery. Due to an infection from the burst appendix, he was in three days instead of two. Total cost: $3000.

    Most medication is low cost without a local doctor's prescription, some require a written Rx often obtainable for an office visit of under $25. One hospital offers free visits and written Rx. It varies across the city.

    We have seen recommendations for many specialties including endocrinology, dermatology, cardiology, retinal specialist and more. Many of the doctors have been trained in the US and speak good English.
     
  3. Weather
    This is weather we can live with and enjoy. It's rarely into the 80's although being at this altitude (over 8000 ft), when in the sun it can feel warmer than the actual air temperature. It's also rarely below the 50's at night. Now, in the winter months (summer in the US), it has on occasion dropped into the upper 30's but that is rare; in the summer months (winter in the US) it has been known to be in the 80's but again, rare.

    The humidity is low unless we are in the rainy season. We haven't had much rain since we arrived in mid-December, less than we experienced last April-May when we first visited. But we know it will come. The winter months tend to feel cooler because of more rain and less sun but we know to dress in layers and we also lucked into an apartment that has morning sun in the living room and afternoon sun in the bedroom. That helps warm the apartment along with the skylight that keeps it brighter inside.

    And while not really weather related, the water in Cuenca is EXCELLENT and we are able to drink it straight from the tap.
Those are our three main reasons but they may not be your top reasons for selecting a retirement area. For some our city, Cuenca, is too cool or too high. There are other places in Ecuador that might suit. Some love the coastal areas with their more laid back lifestyle and warmer weather. We will visit but it's too hot and humid much of the year, at least for us.


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